April 6, 2014

Baseball sweeps FSU in home opener DH, 3-1 and 6-5 (10 innings)

WALTHAM, Mass.  — The Brandeis University baseball team had a pair of dramatic wins today as they defeated visiting Framingham State University in a doubleheader. The Judges won the opener, 3-1, despite getting just one hit. The second seven-inning game lasted 10 frames, as the Judges pulled out a 6-5 victory. With the wins, Brandeis improves to 9-12 on the season, while FSU falls to 10-10.

      The opener was a classic pitchers' duel between Brandeis junior Kyle Brenner (Brookfield, Mass./St. Peter Marian) and Framingham State junior Zach Kirby (Rochester, Mass./Old Rochester). Each threw a complete game, with Brenner striking out seven and walking none and Kirby fanning four and walking two. Brenner (3-2)  allowed just five hits, while Kirby (3-4) surrendered only one, falling victim to three errors.

      Only one half-inning in the game featured more than one hit, the Rams' top of the third. Senior 3B Billy Derosier (Shrewsbury, Mass./Holy Name) singled to right, then stole second. One out later, junior shortstop Mark Mainini (Hull, Mass./Hull) bounced one through the right side to give the Rams the lead.

      Brandeis answered in the bottom of the frame thanks to two FSU errors. Rookie LF Ryan Tettemer (Westfield, Mass./Suffield Acad.) led off the inning by reaching on a low throw by the Ram shortstop and was bunted to second. Kirby struck out junior shortstop Brian Allen (Salem, N.H./Central Catholic), but the third strike got away from the catcher, and the throw down pulled the first baseman off the bag allowing Allen to reach. Judge senior RF Brian Ing (Sandwich, Mass./Sandwich) followed and drove a 3-2 pitch to the deepest part of the park in center, allowing both runners to tag up. Kirby worked the next batter into a 0-2 count, but his next pitch was wild, allowing Tettemer to score the tying run.
      After the next five innings yielded just one base runner, the Judges finally broke through against Kirby in the sixth. Ing led off and worked another full count before drawing a walk. He stole second and moved to third on a bunt by rookie catcher Connor Doyle (Avon, Conn./Avon Old Farms). Brandeis junior 1B Tom McCarthy (Yonkers, N.Y./Fieldston School) followed and drove the ball to left-center field for the team's first – and only – hit, but it was enough for the go-ahead run.

      Brandeis tacked on an insurance run later in the stanza. After rookie 3B Greg Heineman (Wilbraham, Mass./Minnechaug Regional) reached on a fielder's choice, sophomore pinch hitter Max Hart (Montville, Conn./Montville) took advantage of the Rams' third error of the game to reach. Heineman moved to third on the play. When the count reached 1-2 on the next batter, Hart took off for second, while Heineman broke for home, crossing the plate while Hart was still hung up in a pickle in the basepaths.

      Brenner took care of business in the seventh, despite a one-out single by junior 2B Ivan Colon (Waltham, Mass./Waltham) and a hit batter. Brenner struck out a pinch hitter, then picked Colon off trying to get a big lead, ending the game.

      Game two was much more offensive-minded, with the teams combining for 20 hits and 11 runs. Through the first four innings, it looked as though FSU might continue to keep Brandeis down, as sophomore Chris Monroe (Ayer, Mass./Fitchburg) allowed just two Judge hits in that span. The Rams opened the scoring in the second, when, with runners on the corners, Derosier stole second. When the throw down went into center field, sophomore RF R.J. Gray (Lowell, Mass./Lowell) scampered home to open the scoring. Two batters later, senior 1B Matthew Roberge (Lowell, Mass./Lowell) singled up the middle to chase starter Brian Ing. Sophomore Ryan Healy (Carlsbad, Calif./La Costa Canyon) picked off Roberge to get out of the inning.

      Gray added an RBI single an inning later, scoring junior catcher John Gill (Hudson, Mass./Hudson) after a double-steal, but Ram junior center fielder Matthew Gerard (Milford, Mass./Milford) pulled up with an injury after rounding third. He was tagged out to end the inning and did not return to the game.

      Brandeis finally got to Monroe in the fifth inning, when Doyle drew a two-out walk and scored all the way from first on a double too deep right field off the bat of McCarthy.

The Judges got a nifty 3-6-3 double play in the sixth to keep the game close, tying it up in the sixth. Brenner, who started the twin-killing in the top of the inning, singled to center to open the bottom half. A double down the left-field line by senior 2B Dominic Schwartz (San Francisco, Calif./Lowell) put two runners in scoring position, and the came home on an infield grounder by Tettemer and a sacrifice fly by pinch hitter Cameron Shaw (E. Setauket, Mass./Ward Melville) that tied the game.

Each team scored a run in the seventh and eighth against new pitchers. In the seventh, rookie Manny Powers (Malden, Mass./Malden Catholic) producing a run in the top for FSU and McCarthy driving one home in the bottom for the Judges.

In the eighth both teams scored again, but the damage could have been much worse. With two outs in the top of the eighth, Brandeis' Liam Coughlin (Townsend, Mass./Lowell Catholic) retired the first two batters, but hit Derosier with a pitch. He moved to second on an errant pick-off attempt by the catcher, while a miscue at short put runners on the corners. Roberge followed with a single to right-center field that gave the visitors the lead, but he was gunned down trying to advance on the throw to third base.

In the bottom of the eighth, Brandeis loaded the bases with none out on a walk by Schwartz, a single by Tettemer and an intentional walk to outfielder Sam Miller (Sudbury, Mass./Lincoln-Sudbury) after a wild pitch. Gray, who came in from the outfield to issue the free pass, induced Brandeis pinch hitter Dan Gad (Mansfield, Mass./Mansfield) to hit into a double play, minimizing the damage.

After both teams stranded runners in the ninth, Brandeis sophomore James Machado (Dracut, Mass./Dracut) retired Framingham State in order in the top of the 10th. Brandeis followed by scoring the winning run without a hit. Schwartz drew a four-pitch walk to open the inning. Tettemer bunted him to second, and FSU coach Michael Gedman summoned Thomas Simas (Cambridge, Mass./St. Clement) from the bullpen. Simas again walked Miller, setting up the force for Brandeis junior Rob Trenk (West Orange, N.J./West Orange). The strategy nearly worked out, as Trenk grounded to second, but Miller's aggressive slide into the base forced an errant throw as the Rams attempted to turn the double play. When the ball crossed out of play, Schwartz was awarded home to end the game.

Offensively in game two, Schwartz went 1-3 with a double, two walks and three runs scored. McCarthy was 2-3 with a double and two RBI, while Doyle reached base four times, going 2-3 with two walks, a double and a run scored.

The Judges used six different pitchers, none of which allowed more than one earned run, with Machado (1-0) earning his second career win with a perfect inning of relief. Brandeis hurlers fanned six hitters with two walks, though they also has four hit batters.

FSU had three multiple hitters as well: Roberge (2-4, 2 RBI), Derosier (2-4, 2 R) and Gill (2-4, R, 3 SB). The Rams were held without an extra-base hit but they produced eight stolen bases in 10 attempts, plus two pick-offs. Monroe had a no-decision despite six innings of five-hit ball, striking out two and walking two. Gray (0-1) suffered the loss, giving up just one hit and one unearned run in 2.1 innings of work.

Brandeis returns to action on Monday at 3 p.m. against UMass Dartmouth. Framingham State is at Becker tomorrow at 4 p.m.

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